By Gabriel Jorge
A top William Paterson administrator announced on Tuesday that the ranks of adjunct professors may diminish and the sizes of classes may increase after the university fell short of its enrollment goal for the spring semester.
However, Steve Bolyai, the vice president for administration and finance, reassured students and faculty that full-time jobs would not be cut.
“We are not laying people off,” Bolyai said at a Nov. 29 town hall meeting in Cheng Library Auditorium. “That is not William Paterson. We are not about that.”
Bolyai said the university’s budget had been cut only two or three times in his 28 years at WPU.
Although he acknowledged that “things are tough” in Trenton, where the state government is based, he said that WPU would not witness cuts because most funding comes from tuition, which has been relatively steady.
University President Kathleen Waldron had started the meeting on a similarly soothing note.
“These meetings are so the community understands the challenges and joys the university goes through to make it comfortable for students and staff,” she said. “It is also to dispel rumors that we’re on the brink of financial distress.”
Bolyai promised the university would not exceed its traditional 2 percent tuition increase unless necessary.
He did, however, note a shift from full-time to part-time students, and he said that enrollment had dropped by 900 students from Fall 2012 to Fall 2013.
He announced that cooling and heating systems would be renovated in older university buildings, but he did not specify which ones.
Later in the meeting, Bolyai discussed concerns about the safety of drinking water from the university’s water fountains, one day after he sent a university-wide email announcing the completion of a campus-wide study that found no evidence of lead contamination.
The study, run by an independent company named Detail Associates of Englewood, dated back to the testing of the storage tank in the WPU water tower in 2011. Those results were negative.
In April, the university tested four additional buildings and also found no evidence of lead contamination.
“With the recent news about challenges faced by another New Jersey university, we decided this fall to bring Detail Associates back to test all of the remaining buildings on campus,” Bolyai wrote in the Nov. 28 email.
“Again all of the test results indicated safe drinking water except for one water fountain in Gaede Hall. The fountain was immediately shut off and removed. We ordered and just installed a replacement fountain. The location was retested and the results were negative.”
Bolyai ended his email by writing, “I am pleased to reassure you that conclusions from the laboratory testing done throughout the campus indicate that our water supply at William Paterson University meets federal and state guidelines.